Rolling the dice in Indiana

June 2, 2008
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Hoosier Park RacinoA new electronic casino opens for business at Hoosier Park in Anderson today, and another at Indiana Downs in Shelbyville is set to open next week. The parks are hoping to draw more than 3 million visitors per year, providing a French Lickbig tax windfall for the state and local communities. Read more about their prospects here. My question: What do you think of the design of Indiana's casinos? Hoosier Park (above) certainly is no Las Vegas, but at least it's an improvement over the faux riverboat in French Lick. Or is it? (Click either image for larger versions.)
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  • Could any state other than Indiana really conceive of anything as hideous as that mess (the faux River Boat) in French Lick? One more reason to thank the Senator from Indiana, Evan Bayh, for his legacy, non-stop, no-end-in-sight gambling facilities!
  • The Faux River Boat in French Lick is hideous. It is an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful area. Just a stones throw away from the French Lick Resort and West Baden.

    I have no problems with casino's. In fact I wish that a riverboat or 2 would go in downtown Indy on the White River off of McCarty and Kentucky. Take down Diamond Chain and the old abandoned warehouse at Kentucky and McCarty and a couple vacant lots in the area and put up a couple big nice hotels with access to a river boat casino. And imagine actually having a river boat on a river rather than a man made pond with a fake boat on it.

    The southwest side of downtown would have so much investment and it would be a boon to the downtown economy. Less than a mile from the Luke, the Convention Center and the rest of downtown. It would be a tourism draw for sure. Couple that with SoDo east of the Luke and the southside of dowtown is quite an entertainment center.

    Just an idea. It would increase tax revenue, tourism dollars, convention business, new construction, reviatlization of a downtrodden part of the city
  • I was just recently in Vegas for the APA conference and that city is pretty faux as well. The French Lick casino would fit in very well on the Strip right next to the Brooklyn Bridge at New York New York or the Eiffel Tower at Paris. It is sad however how we rely so heavily on gambling. It is essentially a tax on the poor when politicians are too scared to raise taxes on the wealthy. We are not Vegas or Atlantic City and we do not attract tourists from all over the world. Instead, Indiana casinos draw in people hoping to strike it rich from a very small radius. The money that is drawn in from gambling could have been in just as easily brought in from other sources and have much less of a negative impact on the communities that they serve.
  • What Paul said.
  • The point is that most of the visitors to the casinos are from out of State. People who would not normally come and spend money in Indiana for the most part. The money brought in is therefore new money to the economy and a win for the State.

    I am a little worried that we keep expanding the gambling, but I have no problem with the riverboats.
  • A fool and his money are easily parted. The lottery and casinos are a tax on stupidity.
  • The idea of putting them on the border near other states' population centers was great, at least until the other states decide to allow their own casinos on their side of the border, more conveniently located to their population.

    Putting a casino downtown would have been smarter than putting them at these dying racetracks. Why the state feels compelled to prop up the horse racing industry. Breeding a lot of horses to see which ones are fastest and selling the rest of the stragglers at an auction to be shipped overseas for human consumption. Yeah, I guess that's an industry. On second thought, maybe it's not anymore subsidized than any other agricultural sector, but unfortunately these racinos are going to get 90+% of the revenue out of Hoosiers' pockets. At least a downtown casino could much more easily tap tourist and conventioneer dollars. Just my two cents.
  • Dog Boy-

    I can't imagine that we won't see at least one downtown casino prior to 2012. It just seems to obvious.
  • Gambling is really really bad public policy so it's no surprise that it's housed in really really bad architecture.
  • I am not a gambler, personally, but I have always been of the idea that it is no more my place to tell a gambler how he should or should not spend his money than it would be for me to tell a NON-gambler where he can or can't go out to dinner.

    If a man goes out and works 40+ hard hours a week and then wants to go out and gamble some of it on the weekend, that is HIS choice and I respect that.
  • I visited the the casino in Anderson last night. I haven't been to many Indiana casinos (only French Lick)........but it seemed larger than the French Lick location.......but to be honest, the people at the Anderson location were.....interesting.......it was like a giant county fair!
  • Marshall,
    I hate to make comments here political, but that is exactly the mentality that allows gambling as an alternate source of tax revenue proliferate. The State should not exploit/expand revenue sources that capitalize on addictive vices that factually gain from the lower class. That makes those revenues a regressive tax on poor people. A tenant of government is to do no harm and state supported gambling so obviously violates that principle. I'm scared that so many accept this as a direction we are headed. My comments mainly target state sponsored lotteries, but it's a fine line.


  • I work in Anderson and have had the chance to visit the new casino here. First and foremost, if you don't like to gamble...guess what? You don't have to go. Secondly, Hoosiers will gamble and if they are going to gamble, the State may as well work to keep the money here where it will benefit us directly.

    Anderson used to have 80,000 people when the factories employeed over 25,000. Now there is no GM and the population of the ENTIRE County is just over 130,000 and Anderson is at 56,000. The residents though are paying for the infrastructure of a community nearly twice the size it is now and have a huge tax burden when compared to other Central Indiana communities. Basically, it is about time this City/County had a bone thrown its way! The revenue from the Casino is expected to be bewteen $8 and $10 MILLION annually for the local governments here, not to mention the $80 MILLION the State will be receiving. There will also be ancillary development in the Anderson area and that development will generate additional property taxes. In these taxing times, we should be pleased that a steady source of revenue is available. WIth the property tax reform, Madison County is looking at a HUGE shortfall and is considered borrowing money to pay for services...this casino couldn't have come at a better time!

    Is this ideal or perfect? No, but it is better than nothing.



    Finally, the design is HEAPS better than French Lick...why the State made them dig that moat is beyond me!

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

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